England, my home country, is a great place. There are plenty of days when I miss my ‘simpler’ life, living in the English countryside where my biggest worry was what was going to be the prize for next week’s pub quiz. However, since I was 15 years old I have had an almost obsessive fascination with Japan. Fast forward 7 years and I am finally living my dream of working here in Tokyo, and I have to say Japan is a fantastic place to live.
Now don’t get me wrong there’s plenty of stress here too. My personal favorites being the whole job hunting business, hours of overtime and ridiculously packed trains. Don’t worry they’ll be plenty about these delightful topics in future posts.
All in all however I love living in Japan. Tokyo is so exhilarating and vibrant. When I used to work in Kanagawa for Mercedes Benz it was so beautiful riding the train to work, with the morning rays beaming across the river before inter-lapping between the city skyscrapers again. I’m a big fan of the urban jungle and there plenty of beauty to be find here in the sprawling metropolis, but there was something about seeing the morning sun ricocheting off that river surrounded on either side by the every growing ‘Tokyo’ that made me feel lucky to be in Japan.
Picture of sunset over Tokyo from Odaiba
While most of my time is spent in Tokyo, probably around 90%, I have been fortunate enough to travel around a few parts of Japan. When I was still in the UK I would imagine myself traveling all across Japan, plotting where I would go with my well thumbed copy of the Lonely Planet Guide to Japan. Unfortunately when I studied here in 2010 I had very little money to travel and now while I have a bit more money than before I have no real time to travel too far. During my time in Japan though I have been to Shizoka, Hiroshima and Osaka among other places.
One of the main reasons I love to travel within Japan is because of the variety in food and dialect. Most places have their own famous dishes and unique dialects, often so unique that it will make you wonder if they aren’t speaking another language just for kicks. I’m especially a big fan of the Kansai dialect as I watch I lot of variety TV and comedy, which generally has lots of guests and presenters from Kansai. I often have the burning desire to fling some Kansai dialect into my own conversations with my friends here in Tokyo. Unfortunately there is nothing worse than someone who lives in Tokyo and who isn’t from Kansai speaking in the Kansai dialect, and heaven forbid a foreigner!
I kind of think it is like a some guy who comes from abroad to live and work in London but keeps speaking in a Liverpoolian accent cause his favorite band is The Beatles. Yeah not very cool.
Shinsekai in Osaka, but keep that Kansai dialect to yourself people
However no matter where you go in Japan you will generally be greeted with great food and friendly people. I am always astonished by the kindness of most people you meet in Japan. There has been so many times when people have gone out of there way to help me. I especially remember one time where I was lost on my bike in the middle of the countryside. It was the middle of the night and as my phone was dead there was no means of me contacting my friends to tell that I was going to die and if someone could keep an eye on my bonsai tree that would be great. Then all of a sudden a kind Japanese lady guided me all the way back to my town. I did not even manage to say thank you to her properly for saving my life (and no doubt my bonsai’s trees life too) as she pedaled off into the black cold night right after getting me home safe. She will always be know to me as simply ‘Bike Lady’.
Now obviously every day in Japan is not all that great. There are plenty of faults here and my Japanese friends are always surprised when I tell of the clear cases of racism I have faced here. Thankfully these case are few and far between.
What we hope to do here on this site though is to introduce you to the real side of Japan with all its beauty and faults. Specifically for people looking to find a job and work here. We think we have a lot of advice to offer, having experienced and done it all from scratch ourselves.
If you have any comments or requests for articles then please let us know! We look forward to hearing from you and hope you find something to take away from the site.